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  • A giant, fork-tongued lizard

  • with razor-sharp teeth.

  • And a bite with bacteria-laced venom

  • that's seeping into your flesh.

  • Well, this is no legend.

  • It’s a Komodo dragon.

  • Komodo dragons,

  • also known as Komodo monitors,

  • are the largest lizards in the world.

  • As adults,

  • they have an almost-uniform stone color

  • and can weigh around 70 kg (154 lb).

  • The largest Komodo dragon

  • ever found weighed 166 kg (366 lb)

  • and was more than 3 m (10 ft) long.

  • They are powerful, voracious eaters

  • with a taste for all kinds of meat.

  • From small rodents

  • up to a large water buffalo.

  • Their wide jaws and strong throat muscles

  • allow them to devour huge chunks rapidly.

  • And they can eat up to 80%

  • of their own body weight in one meal.

  • Sadly, they are an endangered species,

  • with only 1,380 adult Komodo dragons

  • left in the wild.

  • They can be found

  • in the Lesser Sunda islands of Indonesia.

  • Most fitting, the island of Komodo.

  • Here they live on beaches, ridgetops

  • and even tropical savanna forests.

  • Just waiting for the perfect chance

  • to attack you.

  • Arriving on the island of Komodo,

  • you’d be excited and looking forward

  • to some peaceful vacation time.

  • But as you walk around

  • the tropical forests,

  • you’d be blissfully unaware

  • that Komodo dragons

  • could already be stalking you.

  • Their hunting strategy

  • is all about stealth and power.

  • It comes down to their sense of smell

  • when they are on the prowl for food.

  • And they can pick up the trail

  • of rotting flesh

  • from up to 4 km (2.5 mi) away.

  • For the Komodo,

  • it's not about taking a whiff of air

  • with their nose.

  • Instead, their peculiar method involves

  • sticking out their long

  • forked tongue to sample the air.

  • Then they roll it back in, touching it

  • to the roof of their mouth.

  • Here, the tongue rubs against

  • a sensory organ that can detect different

  • these molecules.

  • A Komodo can then use these molecules

  • as a guide for what

  • direction to head toward.

  • Or it can stay perfectly still

  • for hours, just waiting for their prey.

  • In this case, it’s you.

  • Luckily, you’d spot

  • the yellow-tongued lizard

  • before it attacks.

  • Now would be a good time to run.

  • But with a Komodo's

  • running speed clocking

  • in at up to 20 km/h (13 mph),

  • you wouldn’t get very far.

  • The dragon would bite down

  • hard on your ankle.

  • The pain would be immense,

  • but you’d fight back.

  • You’d punch its neck, trying to force it

  • to let go of you.

  • But no luck.

  • Maybe you’d better try prying open

  • its massive jaws

  • with your own bare hands.

  • You’d struggle and struggle,

  • but it would work.

  • Although, it would come at a cost.

  • Your hands would get sliced

  • by the large,

  • serrated teeth of the dragon.

  • Now you’d be bleeding profusely

  • from the leg and hands.

  • Time to get away and find help

  • before the giant lizard

  • has you for lunch.

  • But a worse fate may now lay before you.

  • All over the Komodo dragon's

  • jagged teeth,

  • there are bits of meat from its last meal.

  • Those bits make the perfect

  • breeding ground

  • for dangerous strains of bacteria.

  • And that bacteria

  • would now be infecting your body.

  • From your bite wounds,

  • you could be exposed

  • to 50 different varieties of bacteria.

  • Some of these are highly septic,

  • potentially leading to severe infection.

  • But the worst still wouldn’t be over.

  • You would now have venom coursing

  • through your body too.

  • This would lower your blood pressure

  • and prevent your blood from clotting.

  • You could only have a few minutes left

  • before you bleed out.

  • Even if you slow the bleeding,

  • this would be a terrible way to go.

  • You could start to get the chills

  • and a fever.

  • Your whole body would be in pain.

  • Eventually, your heart

  • and circulatory system

  • would begin to fail entirely.

  • Blood would no longer flow

  • to any of your organs,

  • causing them to fail.

  • It's likely you wouldn't have the time

  • to make it somewhere safe.

  • And the Komodo dragon's

  • hunt for you would resume.

  • Remember how they can smell

  • rotting meat from kilometers away?

  • Well, your injuries would now attract

  • every Komodo dragon around you.

  • And while no Komodo dragon

  • could swallow you whole on its own,

  • a group of them

  • would devour every scrap of your body.

  • That’s right.

  • They’d eat your bones

  • and your intestines,

  • possibly even swinging them around a bit

  • to remove all the undigested contents.

  • What a delicious meal.

  • As scary and horrible as

  • this would all be,

  • you could rest a bit easier

  • knowing that it's extremely rare.

  • It happens, sure.

  • But prior to a deadly Komodo dragon

  • attack on a young child in 2007,

  • there hadn't been a single fatal incident

  • on Komodo Island in 33 years.

  • Maybe you should be more scared

  • of another giant predator attacking you.

  • Like a crocodile.

  • But that's a story for another WHAT IF.

A giant, fork-tongued lizard

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What If You Were Attacked by a Komodo Dragon?

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    Yui posted on 2022/08/03
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